Since 1999, Heisman Trophy winners have signed a waiver promising that they will not sell their iconic statues, but the ones who came before them have no such restriction: The trophies won by Rashaan Salaam ($399,608), Charles White ($184,000), O.J. Simpson ($255,000) and Clint Frank ($317,000) all fetched large sums on the open market.
The Heisman Trophy won by Notre Dame’s Tim Brown, who in 1987 became the first wide receiver to win the award and later went on to a lengthy NFL career and induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is the latest: As reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, it will go up for auction later this month, and the final price may top them all.
“We believe it is one of the most significant award trophies to ever be auctioned in any sport,” Goldin Auctions founder Ken Goldin told Rovell. “We have the most prestigious and valuable award given to an NFL Hall of Famer who went to the most storied program in history.”
Brown sold his Heisman last year in a private sale, Rovell reports, and the buyer consigned it to an auction that starts Nov. 19 and closes Dec. 8.
One particular group of college football fans seems to have taken a keen interest in the sale, and they aren’t wearing green. Syracuse quarterback Don McPherson finished second to Brown in the 1987 Heisman voting after leading the then-Orangemen to a perfect regular season and a No. 4 final ranking. Syracuse fans for years have clamored that McPherson was more deserving of the Heisman that year, and some see the auction as a way to right a wrong.
Sean Keeley — former proprietor of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, a Syracuse fan blog — has a novel idea:
McPherson completed 129 of 229 pass attempts for 2,341 yards and 22 touchdowns in Syracuse’s option-heavy offense, adding 230 yards and five scores on the ground. Brown had 39 catches for 846 yards and three touchdowns while also returning three punts for scores for an 8-4 Notre Dame team that lost its final two games by a combined 59-10. (Brown actually put up better numbers as a junior in 1986.) Yet Notre Dame was Notre Dame, and Syracuse was only then emerging from a decades-long spell of mediocrity since the likes of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little roamed the backfield for the Orangemen. Brown won the award easily, finishing with 324 first-place votes to McPherson’s 167.
Syracuse fans still are a little salty about this: